In common with other kinds of mass spectrometry, AMS is performed by converting the atoms in the sample into a beam of fast moving ions (charged atoms).The mass of these ions is then measured by the application of magnetic and electric fields.While not all objects have the same isotopes, both living and nonliving objects have some sort of decaying, radioactive isotope that can be used based on known decay rates. An isotope of some sort is located and isolated within an object.

advantages and disadvantages of carbon dating-87advantages and disadvantages of carbon dating-54

Radiometric dating is a process of identifying the age of a material based on known half-lives of decaying radioactive materials found in both organic and inorganic objects.

Radiometric dating is often used to determine the age of rocks, bones, and ancient artifacts.

This works because elements have a life cycle known as a “half-life.” A half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for an isotope to lose half of its atoms as a result of decaying.

When an isotope decays, it often becomes a different kind of element altogether.

This is how carbon dating works: Carbon is a naturally abundant element found in the atmosphere, in the earth, in the oceans, and in every living creature.

C-12 is by far the most common isotope, while only about one in a trillion carbon atoms is C-14.

Because this new element (decay product) remains on or within the object, scientists can easily determine how old the object is. A mass spectrometer is a fundamental device in any radiometric dating experiment.

Mass spectrometers can be used to measure isotopic samples as small as one 1 nanogram.

It takes another 5,730 for half of the remainder to decay, and then another 5,730 for half of what's left then to decay and so on.

The period of time that it takes for half of a sample to decay is called a "half-life." Radiocarbon oxidizes (that is, it combines with oxygen) and enters the biosphere through natural processes like breathing and eating.

Mass spectrometers detect atoms of specific elements according to their atomic weights.